On Tuesday 28th July 2009 my dad, David Averell Rosenberg died of Pancreatic cancer.
At a family lunch in London on Saturday 25th, it was clear that he was in dire health so he was admitted to UCH A&E. On Monday 27th, they found he had advanced pancreatic cancer, with secondaries in his lungs and liver. He fell into a coma that night before they could tell him of the diagnosis, and he died the next day. He was surrounded by his family, and the room was full of love and the music he was so passionate about. It was (and still is) a terrible shock for us all.
My family are Jewish, and during the mourning period, the men grow a beard - a physical manifestation of their grief. As a non-religious Jew (and a woman!) I felt quite frustrated in the months that followed my Dad's death that I didn't do anything physical to mark what has happened. I also wanted to do something to raise awareness and money to fund research for Pancreatic cancer. So my boyfriend Dave and I have decided to raise £5,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (http://www.pcrf.org.uk/index.html) - and during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Week next year (probably mid November 2010) we'll shave our heads.
I'm not a runner (I can't do the marathon thing), but I wanted to do something that would test me. Anyone can sit in a bath of baked beans. Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about fashion - perhaps too passionate! My hair is a very important part of my 'look' - it's basically my permanent accessory. Plus, as a woman, my hair is an important part of my femininity. So there's absolutely no doubt that this will be difficult for me. But I'm determind to do it. After all, I'm lucky enough that it'll grow back. Others aren't so fortunate.
To put Pancreatic cancer into perspective:
Forty years ago few children survived childhood leukaemia. Now the survival rate is 80%
Forty years ago only 46% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survived five years or more. Now that figure is also 80%
Forty years ago 3% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survived five years or more. That figure is still 3%
The problem with Pancreatic cancer is that it's so difficult to detect, so by the time it is diagnosed, there's very little that can be done. But with research, hopefully the boffins can find some way around it. Already there is an operation that can be done if the cancer is detected early enough.
Pancreatic cancer seems to be the black sheep of the cancer family. Not many people know about it, and those who do know it to be severe and unrelenting. Hopefully with research and raising awareness this can change. Years ago, cancers like leukemia and lung cancer were feared almost as highly as pancreatic cancer. Now, thanks to funding research and raising awareness, the survival rate is growing daily. I hope in years to come, the same will be said for pancreatic cancer.
My boyfriend Dave is also shaving his head in support. This is a team effort, so please support him too!
>>>UPDATE<<<22/10/09Thanks to The Spencer Hart Charitable Trust and the over whelming generosity from friends and family in the first SIX days (!), Dave and I have decided to raise our target to £3,000. We'll still shave our heads next year after raising £2,000 but it would be amazing to surpass our original target and reach £3,000!
After a matched fundraising donation of £500 from Future Publishing (and at just £455 to go), Dave and I have decided to raise our target to a FINAL £5,000. It's the target I initially mentioned when we were discussing this project anyway. I'm so thrilled we've managed to raise so much in such a short space of time and am confident in the support of our friends and family that we'll reach that last target in the next 12 months. Thanks ever so much everyone!
5/01/10Thanks to Yvonne Neville-Rolfe who worked with my dad in the 80s and 90s in West Herts hospital, and kindly donated offline.
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